Off To The FIDM Museum- The 26th Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition

Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition


oday we decided to get out of the house and make our annual pilgrimage to the 26th Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition at the FIDM Museum and enjoy the sunny weather in Downtown Los Angeles. First impressions? First, never visit this exhibit on a weekend (we really didn’t have a choice this time around)- the crowds were out in force and it was difficult viewing the various garments on exhibit or getting a clear shot at taking a picture.

Adam FIDM Museum

Your somewhat frustrated author outside of the exhibition- I really don’t do crowds.

That said, there were definitely some compelling garments to view…first up is The Phantom Thread, a film loosely (very loosely) based on the designer Charles James, whose designs capture fashion during the late 1940s and 50s:

Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread

The above pink gown is aesthetically pleasing, vaguely reminiscent of James’ evening gowns but not particularly exciting. The appliques on the skirt are fairly standard and are flat. The use of lace on the bodice and sleeves seem to obscure the dress lines, which are strongest part of the dress design. Here’s a picture of the gown in action:

Phantom Thread


However, on a more positive note is this black coat.

Phantom Thread

The A-line silhouette and cut on this coat are architectural, creating a series of clean, flowing lines lines. The use of black silk satin further emphasizes the lines of the coat, making for an exquisite package. What is especially remarkable is the construction of the sleeves and shoulders- the sleeve flows into the shoulder and a single unit (I’d love to see the pattern!). Unfortunately, the crowds prevented me from getting pictures from the rest of the collection so we’ll just leave it at. 🙁

On a lighter note were these costumes from the Disney live-action version of Beauty and the Beast:

Beauty and the Beast

The dress for Belle, the heroine of the story, is a fairly standard Disney Prince sort of design and as such is a fairly conventional design. However, the outfit for the Beast, is striking in it’s sheer size (which makes sense since it’s being worn by a fairly large creature).

Beauty and the Beast

To get an idea of the sheer size, here’s a picture of the two protagonists together:

Image result for beauty and the beast

Next there were a few dresses from the 2017 re-make of The Beguiled, a movie set in 1864 during the American Civil War:

The Beguiled

The Beguiled

The Beguiled

Our reaction? Well, let’s just say that the effect was underwhelming. With a dull pastel toned color palette, the 1860s never looked more dull and it really doesn’t seem to fit with the setting of 1864 Virginia, a decidedly war-torn place. I’m just not sure about this.

And finally, just for fun here are some outfits from the most recent Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi:

Unfortunately, this year’s display was a bit of a disappointment. From an historical perspective, there wasn’t much out there and what was on display wasn’t particularly compelling. I hope next year’s exhibit is better and we’re definitely going to make a point to visit on a weekday.

4 thoughts on “Off To The FIDM Museum- The 26th Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition

    • The dresses used in The Beguiled were pretty simple and unstructured. As far as I can tell, there were no petticoats but not having seen the movie, I’m not sure if they were simply omitted for the exhibition.

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